But soon I was in love with the crew of the starship Enterprise, and with that fine ship too.
I had to defend the movie, a lot, from my friends. They thought it was terrible, and said how much better Star Wars was. In defending The Motion Picture, I began to truly detect how beautifully-rendered it was, even if I didn't change minds.
I have had the amazing experiencing of seeing Star Trek through his eyes, for the first time, and this viewing has given me another wonderful perspective on this chapter of the franchise.
Joel loves the series (and refuses to watch Generations because Kirk dies...). But he bounces up off his seat at moments of high excitement ("The Doomsday Machine," "Mirror, Mirror") or humor ("A Piece of the Action," and "The Trouble with Tribbles") in the series. He is taken with the Ceti eels, the Medusans, the Tribbles, and other aliens. Spock is his favorite character.
Not just right, but right for fifty years, and for multiple generations.
It got right the idea that we are all stronger together, because of our differences, not in spite of them.
It got right the idea that humanity can always make the right choice, selecting the better angels of its nature and not regressing into barbarism, nativism, racism or other hatreds.
It gave TV and film a common nomenclature for the future.
Spock has made us question the things we sometimes take for granted, or explain the things about humanity that we would rather not explain. He has also been a voice for those of a marginalized co-culture here, in the 20th or 21st century. He alone understands what it means to be an "alien" among humans on the Enterprise, and he often takes the side of those who are as marginalized as he must sometimes feel ("The Way to Eden.") Furthermore, Spock, by growing and changing over the years, reminds us that "change is the essential process" of all life ("Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.")
The same is true of Captain James T. Kirk. I watched him as a kid, and I wanted to be him. William Shatner's Kirk epitomized, to my young mind, American masculinity.
Tough and brave, loyal and resourceful, he was an idol for the man I dreamed of becoming. Today, I am more a Spock-type than a Kirk-type, but that's okay. I still love James T.
At my age, I enjoy watching Kirk deal with "growing old" especially in the Star Trek movies, and love how the character deals with "life...death...life;" the big things. Like Spock, Kirk evolves and lives a full life in the mythos. He sometimes makes mistakes, but that's part of the human condition.
As I wrote above, Since I was four or so, Star Trek has been a major part of my life, and every time I have watched it, I have gleaned something new and valuable from these "old" (classic) 79 episodes.
At different times the series has meant different things to me, but it has been a constant influence, and a constant source of inspiration and wisdom. I am glad, beyond measure, that Star Trek -- at least at this stage -- is also there for my son.
When other programs and movies -- and the world itself -- seems to flirt with deadly dystopia and apocalypse, Star Trek has been a constant voice saying "there are days ahead worth living for."
It reminds us that we have the agency -- if we have the heart -- to build a future of greatness. A future of empathy and love; of exploration and excitement. Of friendship and diversity.
This week on the blog, I'll devote space to Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek. I'll leave it there, for now, with one last birthday wish.
Live Long and Prosper Star Trek. Your adventure (and ours...) is still just beginning.